Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Grand Central Station

I don't know how I had missed it but I had never been to Grand Central Station.

On a recent trip to Manhattan, I walked from Broadway back to the hotel and went right by Grand Central Station.

It's incredible. Even at 8:00PM it was bustling. Most of the visitors were taking pictures like I was but still...
Grand Central Terminal's distinctive architecture and interior design have earned it several landmark designations, including as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The terminal is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, with 21.9 million visitors in 2013, excluding train and subway passengers.

Slide show

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Canada Roaming Bonus

When I started my planning for our trip to Quebec City I researched what I needed to do with our AT&T phones.

I realize now that it was silly but the first thing I did was to call AT&T and ask them.

Their recommendation was to upgrade to their unlimited everything plan and almost double my plan cost.

When I asked them about the $10 per day choice they said the I could do that if I really wanted to but I should upgrade to their unlimited everything plan.

I politely hung up on him and continued my own research.

What I found is an unadvertised offering called Canada Roaming Bonus.
AT&T is now offering a Canada Roaming Bonus much like the Mexico Roaming Bonus. It offers, like the Mexico package, unlimited voice/text while in Canada and 1 GB of data per month. The kicker is it you have to call the AT&T Rententions department to have it added to each line. The regular first line Customer Service Reps can not add it to your line(s). I know its available to Mobile Share Value Plan members. Not sure about other customers.

Make sure to add the $0 cost International Roaming to your plan at the same time.
Oh, and it's FREE. Wonder why the representative didn't offer me that?

While you're talking to the Retentions representative, ask them if they can bump up your data. They bumped my plan by 5GB for free.

Here's what shows up on my bill:
Canada Roaming Bonus - Includes 1 gigabyte of data in Canada; data overage is $20 each additional 1GB. Unlimited text sent from Canada and unlimited talk from Canada to the U.S. and Canada. Talk from Canada to other international destinations will be billed at standard international long distance rates. Pay-per-use rates apply for all services in all other international countries. For more details, visit 
And this is full speed LTE, not 2G like some other carriers.

The Canada Roaming Bonus worked perfectly for me in Canada. I did have to enable data roaming once I got to Canada. Don't forget to turn it off when you return.

You can't beat the price.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Global Entry

tl;dr Global Entry speeds you through U.S. Immigration and Customs really fast.

On the return from our recent trip to Canada, we cleared Immigration and Customs in Chicago in less than 5 minutes.

Here's how...

A couple of years ago when we traveled to Ireland we joined the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program.

At the time we had to travel to Nashville for the CBP interview. The interview took less than 5 minutes and we received e-mail notification that we had been approved before we left the parking lot.

According to Customs and Border Protection's page the benefits are:
  • No processing lines
  • No paperwork
  • Access to expedited entry benefits in other countries
  • Available at major U.S. airports
  • Reduced wait times
  • TSA Pre✓ Eligibility
You also get Global Entry cards (like a Passport Card) that are good for U.S. entry at land and sea ports of entry. We used these when visiting Campobello Island.

Global Entry costs $100 compared to TSA Pre✓'s $85 and includes TSA Pre✓. Global Entry also includes the equivalent of a Passport Card ($30). Both Global Entry TSA Pre✓and  are good for 5 years.

How this works is that when the flight attendant passes out the Form 6059B politely take it, put it in the seatback pocket, and go back to watching the movie. You don't have to complete it.

Then when you deplane and go to the Immigration area, watch for the Global Entry kiosks.

Place your passport on the reader, smile for the camera, put your hand on the sensor and answer the few questions. Take the receipt that the kiosk prints and head for the exit.

Wave the receipt politely to the Immigration agents and keep going.

Now you're in Customs. Again look for the Global Entry line. It's the Customs agent without a line. Wave the receipt politely to the Customs agent and keep going.

Head to Starbucks and wait for your friends that didn't have Global Entry.

By the way there's also Mobile Passport Control that is similar.
Mobile Passport Control enables travelers to submit their passport and customs declaration information via their smartphone instead of the traditional paper form. 
Follow the Mobile Passport Control signs to the designated Mobile Passport Control line. Show your passport to the CBP officer and scan the barcode on the CBP receipt. And that’s it!
It's free but doesn't include TSA Pre✓ or the Global Entry Card. Mobile Passport Control requires some pre-work on your smartphone before you land. Once you're on the ground you have to connect to the Internet and complete some information. Then you are shown a barcode that you have to present to the CBP agents at Immigration and Customs.

Not all international arrival airports have Global Entry and fewer support Mobile Passport Control. We actually cleared Global Entry in Dublin on our return from Ireland.

Cross-post from here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Vieux Québec Geotracking

Yeah, I carried 2 phones. For geotracking I used my 2013 Moto X with GPSLogger for Android with the frequency set to 1 minute and location from GPS only. The other radios were turned off. The battery easily lasted more than a day.